Updated: 15 June 1999 NATO Speeches


of the North
at the level
of Heads
of State
and Government

23 Apr. 1999


by the Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schrder

Secretary General,
dear colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The German people owe a lot to NATO. The transatlantic partnership of democratic nations and the security guarantee of the Alliance have granted Germany fifty years of peace and prosperity, and we are proud to have played our part in this.

It is with firmness, determination and consistency that the Atlantic Alliance contributed to overcoming the confrontation of two blocs. The restoration of German unity would have been impossible without NATO.

We Germans have had the benefit of experiencing solidarity and we are ready and willing to grant that same solidarity to others. Very often people in my country ask whether in this conflict of Kosovo Germans should actually be present militarily on the ground, or rather in the air, and I always respond to that question that simply because of our history we are not only allowed to do that, we are forced to do it, we have the obligation to do so, we have to stand up to defend our values of enlightenment and democracy. That is the true lesson that our very own history has taught us. I am more than convinced that people will increasingly realise why we had to intervene militarily in Kosovo, simply because there were no other means left in order to defend the values of a civilised Western world. We did not want to see them trampled underfoot. We are ready to stand up for them and we do that as a member of a community of free and democratic nations, and we are proud of it.

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